Despite losing to arch-rival Harvard, the team will certainly view this as a successful road trip. Cornell won in Hanover for only the second time in nine years, and played well on Friday night. Special teams are beginning to come into form and lines and defensive pairings are now effectively set. The starting goaltender's job is Scrivens' for now, following a strong effort in both games.
Harvard is the best team Cornell has seen thus far, and played much more physically than they have in years past. While the rosters were evenly matched, Friday's game was a constant ebb and flow between the two teams' styles. The second period was unquestionably the best period of hockey Cornell has played all year, generating numerous quality scoring chances while controlling all aspects of the game. Unfortunately, this didn't translate into any goals, which turned out to be the difference in the game. Richter is a good, but not great goaltender who made the big saves when needed to put his team in a position to win. Scrivens was impressive as well, and was only beaten on the two rebounds that were stuffed passed him.
If nothing else was learned from this game, it is clear that this team is going to struggle to put pucks in the net. Cornell will be hard-pressed to win on nights where the top line does not score. As of right now, none of the others lines are consistently generating chances. The Kennedy-Kennedy-Sawada line has shown great potential and is definitely poised to break out, but until they begin playing more consistently, the team will likely have to rely on offense from unlikely sources, as was the case on Saturday.
Cornell came into Thompson Arena facing a fast, young, and physical Dartmouth squad in a rink where success has eluded the Big Red throughout the Schafer era. Although the final score may not have been entirely representative of the play, the only thing that seemed to be able to slow down the Red was the temporary power outage during the intermission. While Dartmouth did carry the play for a good portion of the second period, there was never any doubt that this was Cornell's game. The only way Dartmouth could win was if the Red let them.
Dan Nicholls scored two goals, matching his total from all of last season in juniors. Not only was the Nicholls-Fontas-Scali line scoring, they were also doing an incredible job of shutting down Dartmouth's top scoring line as well. The trio saw their greatest amount of ice time all year, and set the pace for the team throughout the game with physical play, strong defense, and ultimately the team's final two goals.
The penalty kill did not allow a goal all weekend, and the power play was, at times, beginning to click as well. It appears that Riley Nash will be the focal point of his unit, which other teams are certainly aware of now. Over the past two weekends, Nash has drawn an amazing amount of slashing and hooking penalties as teams are now trying to force someone other than Riley to beat them. Also, with each passing game, the team is becoming more and more comfortable with their defensive system, as shot-blocking played a major role in the team's success at Dartmouth.
3. Joe Scali
2. Ben Scrivens
1. Dan Nichols
Every game must be approached with a must-win mentality. Any time you come into a game not prepared to treat each as the most important game of the season, you will lose every time. But this is Cornell's biggest game of the season, playing on the national stage, in the world's most famous arena, to renew a storied rivalry.
This game may very well mean more to Cornell than it does to BU, but the Terriers will certainly be fired up as well. Last week's overtime loss to Harvard was just the latest chapter in BU's inconsistent season.
Cornell will be without the services of Chris Fontas and blueliner Justin Krueger, as both were involved in the extracurricular activities following Saturday's victory over Dartmouth. Tyler Mugford is expected to return from injury, and will step in to center that checking line. It is also possible that this game may be Brendon Nash's first appearance of the season as well, though if he isn't ready to go, expect freshman Jacob Johnston to dress as the sixth defenseman.
This team has been talking about the BU game for the entire season. They will come out fired up and ready to play. When it comes down to it, the Terriers are almost certainly a more talented team. Watch out for Bryan Ewing, Pete MacArthur, and Chris Higgins, all talented forwards who are all among the nation's scoring leaders. However, this won't be enough to compensate for the team's overall inefficiency this year. If Cornell can dictate the tempo with physical play, which BU will likely try to avoid, they will have a chance to win the game in the third period. Expect the Big Red to play their most complete game of the season thus far, and look to use this game as a springboard to their best hockey of the season in the games to come.
Cornell 3 - Boston University 2